My friend, John Panzer, was able to capture this video of an octopus while snorkeling at Leinster Bay. The video captures the octopus in the process of changing color. Look how quickly it does just that:
Hike With the Super
The Friends of the Virgin islands National Park sponsored a “Hike with the Super” yesterday. Park superintendent, Brion FitzGerald led the hike beginning at Annaberg, following the Leinster Bay Trail to the beach at Waterlemon Bay. Here the group was led through the ruins of the old Leinster Bay Plantation and the Leinster Bay Valley and then on to the Johnny Horn Trail with stops at the guardhouse and the James Murphy Estate House.
U.S. senator asks FBI to look into lack of progress in St. John murder investigation
By JENNY KANE (Daily News Staff)
ST. THOMAS – The family of a New Jersey man stabbed on St. John last month said they are upset by the V.I. Police Department’s lack of communication about the unsolved murder, and they have turned to a U.S. senator for assistance.
In response to the family’s complaints, Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., sent a letter critical of the V.I. Police Department to the director of the FBI requesting the agency’s assistance in the case.
James Malfetti III, 41, was found dead in his Chocolate Hole apartment Jan. 19, according to police reports.
Police initially classified the incident as a suspicious death, then two days later reclassified it as a murder after further inspecting the body and saying Malfetti suffered several puncture wounds to the neck….
…The victim’s parents, who live in New Jersey, call the police on St. Thomas – specifically Detective Diana Martinez, leader of the investigation into their son’s death – every day, Rosemary Malfetti said. Martinez has only responded to their calls once or twice, they said.
“If you decide to take what the family says, then that’s up to you. I beg to differ with what they are saying,” Martinez said Tuesday evening when reached by phone.
Martinez declined to answer how often she has been speaking with the Malfetti family, deferring all further questions to V.I. Police Commissioner Rodney Querrard Sr.
Querrard could not be reached Tuesday….
…”The rudeness, and the dryness. It’s really hurtful to the parents of a son that’s just been murdered, their only son,” Jim Malfetti said.
In their frustration, the Malfettis turned to Menendez, who wrote a letter to FBI Director James Comey, pleading that the FBI take over what Menendez called a botched local investigation….
…In the letter to the FBI, Menendez wrote:
“In investigating the murder, Jim’s parents state that the police discarded forensic evidence, failed to collect potentially crucial evidence, incorrectly stated the date of death on the death certificate, misstated facts to the parents, and failed to check for fingerprints.
“My constituents also repeatedly called the local police for updates into the investigation, but were rebuffed and told that if they continue to call their case will be moved to the ‘bottom of the pile,'” the letter said. “Even after over two weeks, the police have told the parents that they have not begun to trace the stolen cell phone.”… read entire article
US Virgin Islands defends handling of New Jersey man’s killing
Wednesday February 12, 2014, 6:57 PM
BY DAVID MCFADDEN
KINGSTON, Jamaica — Police in the U.S. Virgin Islands on Wednesday defended their handling of an unsolved slaying of a New Jersey native who was fatally stabbed more than three weeks ago during an apparent burglary….
…Malfetti’s parents have enlisted the help of New Jersey Sen. Robert Menendez, telling him that the U.S. Virgin Islands police force have handled the murder investigation amateurishly from the start, failing to collect evidence and even discarding valuable forensic clues. Police initially labelled the case as a suspicious death, but a couple of days later reclassified it as a homicide. There have been no arrests.
Virgin Islands Police Commissioner Rodney Querrard insisted in a Wednesday statement that police have “taken all necessary steps since the day the victim was found” to process evidence and follow leads.
“This case is an active investigation and we will continue the process of investigating the unfortunate death of James Malfetti until we can file a criminal complaint,” Querrard said.
His statement comes two days after Menendez, a Democrat, wrote a letter to FBI Director James Comey requesting assistance from the agency, saying that “the family deserves a competent investigation.” Menendez said the grieving parents had experienced a “hostile and uninterested law enforcement response.””’
Querrard’s statement said he expressed his condolences to the family, but Malfetti’s parents said they hadn’t heard a word from him. They said police even failed to notify them when their son’s body was found….
…Querrard said local FBI agents are assisting with the probe but did not disclose more details. He said police would update Malfetti’s parents and “address their issues to the best of our ability without compromising the case.”
Virgin Puree Launches Fruit Export Program
By Susan Ellis — February 12, 2014
Dale Browne, of Sejah Farm, Agriculture Commissioner Louis Petersen and Anthony Weeks of St. Croix Economic Development Initiative introduce Virgin Puree at a press conference Wednesday.
Virgin Puree, a program to harvest, preserve and sell locally grown fruit – including produce collected from residents’ backyards – was introduced by the stakeholders at a press conference Wednesday at Sejah Farm.
Sponsors envision Virgin Puree will add millions of dollars to the local economy and provide a local food source at the same time. Fruit grown and sold by farmers and residents to Virgin Puree will be preserved as juice, dried or frozen. The goal of the program is to sell fruit products locally and to supermarkets and restaurants on the mainland.
“Everybody has a fruit tree in the yard,” said Dale Browne, owner of Sejah Farm. “Most of it goes to waste,” he said, adding that Virgin Puree will try to find the “hidden orchards.”
The Virgin Puree program will begin this weekend at Agrifest 2014.
Volunteers located near the Sejah Farm booth and produce stand will collect surveys from residents to determine the number of backyard fruit trees and the community’s interest in the agriculture industry.
The next step, according to Anthony Weeks, director of the St. Croix Economic Development Initiative, is research and development to determine the best products. The next step will be having focus groups test the products. Participants suggested mangos should be tested first, he said.
The end result will be pureed, frozen or dried products in local stores.
Steel Pan by Lemuel Samuels
6:00 – 9:00
Barefoot Cowboy Lounge
7:00 – 9:00
Wayne Clendenin and Pamela Love
4 :30 – 6:30
Happy Hour 4:00 – 7:00
Inn at Tamarind Court
Gann – Solo guitar
7:00 – 10:00
6:30 – 9:30
6:30 – 9:30
6:00 – 9:00
5:00 – 8:00
Isolated showers. Mostly sunny, with a high near 77. East wind 17 to 20 mph. Chance of precipitation is 20%.
Leinster Bay was once called “Smith Bay.” The current name “Leinster Bay” was adopted by James Murphy, a St. Thomas merchant, slave trader and ship owner, who purchased Leinster Bay, and surrounding estates in 1796. The name Leinster came from the province in Ireland where his family came from.
St. John Singers – Tonight Friday 12/13
Directed by Janice Ballard
Cruz Bay – Nazareth Lutheran Church 7:30 p.m.
This season’s concerts will include settings of traditional carols, classical and contemporary pieces, and calypso. Music representative of a range of time periods and countries of origin will be performed and the audience, as always, is invited to join the choir in a traditional carol sing-along. The choral music will be enhanced by accompaniments on piano, brass, and a variety of percussion instruments. Featured guest artists are Michael Partain and Wendy Ramos, who will perform instrumental works for brass in addition to accompanying several of the choral pieces. Luba Dolgopolsky is the guest pianist for these concerts.
The St. John Singers are dedicating this year’s Christmas performances to the memory of long-time member Joyce Ballard.
St. John Live Music Schedule – Tonight Friday 12/13
5:30 – 8:30
Third String All Stars
6:00 – 10:00
6:30 – 9:30
Rascio on Steel Pan
6:30 – 9:30
6:30 – 9:30
6:00 – 9:00
5:00 – 8:00
See Weekly Schedule
St. John Weather
Isolated showers after 8am. Sunny, with a high near 78. East wind 16 to 18 mph. Chance of precipitation is 10%.
What Does a Manchineel Apple Taste Like
It’s not easy to get a taste review of the manchineel apple, especially with it’s rather ominous nickname “death apple,” but we have it here folks, brought to you as an exclusive by St. John life.
It seems a family of four visiting St. John happened to be walking down the Leinster Bay Road on their way to Waterlemon Bay, when they passed by the manchineel tree on the Leinster Bay Road. Thinking that it was a tasty genip, the dad picked an apple and offered bites to his wife and kids. Dad ate the apple, the mom and their eight-year-old kid took a bite and spit it out and their four-year-old refused the offer. Walking a few paces further, they read the big red sign pictured above.
Next, it was a trip to the clinic, along with a good share of worry and anxiety.
The result: intestinal distress for the dad and a burned mouth feeling for mom and the kid. The survival rate was 100 percent.
Interviewing the protagonists of the story, I was mainly interested in the taste of a death apple, something I was loath to find out for myself.
Here’s the review:
Dad: Sweet, but a bit tart
Mom: Like an under-ripe honeydew melon
Eight-year-old kid: Like concrete
The shallow flats just off the Leinster Bay Road offer easy access for fly fishermen to enjoy their sport in one of the most beautiful setting anywhere.
St. John Live Music Schedule for tonight, Sunday, January 29
Aqua Bistro – Lauren – 3:30 – 6:30 – 776-5336
Beach Bar – Sol Driven Train – 4:30 – 777-4220
Concordia – Bo – Sunday Brunch 10:00 am
Driftwood Dave’s – Live Music – 1:00 – 4:00 – 777-4015
Miss Lucy’s – Samba Combo – 10: 00am – 2:00pm – 693-5354
Ocean Grill – David Laab – 6:30 – 9:00 – 693-3304
Shipwreck Landing – Hot Club of Coral Bay – 7:00 – 10:00
See the weekly schedule
When you look at a green turtle swimming about, one of the first things you may notice is that they are not green, but rather brownish in color. Their name comes from the green color of the layer of fat lying under their shells. Green turtles can get quite large, the biggest one ever found had a shell five feet long and weighed 871 pounds. Unlike many other species of turtles, green turtles cannot pull their heads back into their shells. Adult sea turtles are vegetarians eating mostly sea grass and algae, but the babies will eat small crabs, sponges and jellyfish. They mate in shallow water near the beach every two to four years and using their flippers, they dig a hole in the sand, where they lay their eggs. They then cover up the eggs with sand and return to the sea. When the eggs hatch the babies make the short but dangerous trip back to the sea. Those that survive the onslaught of predators like seagulls and crabs may live to be 100 years old.
Donning my trusty Camelbak backpack, GPS and digital camera, I set out to photograph some items of interest on two spur trails off the Brown Bay Trail.
I parked up at the Annaberg Parking Lot and headed down the Leinster Bay Trail. It’s a really beautiful walk, starting out under the shade of a canopy of dry forest trees and then opening onto a shoreline trail. The view from the Leinster Bay Trail is nothing less than spectacular, the trade winds generated breeze refreshing and the trail is comfortable and easy to walk, level and well cleared.
Passing several groups of hikers on the way, I was impressed by how popular the trail has become. There were many yachts on the moorings, beach lovers at the beach and snorkelers plying the waters near and around Waterlemon Cay.
At the beach I headed up and inland on the Johnny Horn Trail.
The guard house near the top of the hill has been well cleared and there are great views of the bay and beyond from there.
Continuing on the Johnny Horn, passing the spur to the Murphy Great House on Windy Hill, I come to the Brown Bay Trail intersection and head north and down hill towards the coast. The trail is now well cleared and easy walking.
I’m looking for the spur trail that goes to an old graveyard. Heading east along the shore, I come to a salt pond on my left and begin looking out for the narrow, but supposedly easy to find spur trail to the cemetery, which I was told was located about 100 feet south of the Brown Bay Trail just before reaching (to the west of) the side track to the beach.
True to my friend’s word, the trail was easy to find and a short walk through the low lying forest leads me to an impressive cemetery, surrounded on four sides by beautifully constructed stone walls. The four feet high walls form an approximate square about 100 feet long on each side. Two pillars, one of which has since fallen down, at one time supported a gate.
Ornate metalwork surrounds the actual grave where a two year old boy was buried in 1860.
Returning to the trail and again heading east, I pass the beach and begin to ascent a hill. On my left I find the steep path leading down to the coast where there are the remains of a stone structure, which I am told once served as an abattoir.